Archive for the ‘Coaching Staff’ Category


The off-season keeps on chooglin’, and while there is still time for the Jays to do something about their situation at second base — the position that Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs cites as one of the three worst among all potentially contending teams in the Majors (while giving Alex Anthopoulos credit enough to know that Ryan Goins is “not the kind of guy who’s supposed to be the favorite, not at this point”) — there genuinely remains the potential that they’re more comfortable with the status quo than any reasonable person ought to be able to believe.

We know for certain, at least, that the club is determined to act like they’re OK with going into the season with Goins — and his disgusting .214/.243/.310 line against mostly minor league left-handed pitching in 2013 — at the helm, and an example of the supposed confidence came up during Mike Wilner’s chat with the club’s new hitting coach, Kevin Seitzer, this week.

Some of the chat can be heard on the Fan 590′s On Demand Audio page, and it’s an interesting one. When he really gets going, Seitzer sounds as much like a sports psychologist as he does a hitting coach– though maybe that’s an accurate representation of half of his job description anyway — not to mention sincere as hell.

“I don’t care where the ball goes, I want production,” he says, with the intonation of a preacher reaching a quiet ebb.

But while all the stuff about Alex Gordon and Billy Butler is nice — coloured as it is by the language of batting average and RBIs (which is somewhat disheartening, though hopefully more an outdated necessity within clubhouse culture more than it is a reflection of the organization’s failure to recognize progress) — what really piqued my interest was a tweet from Wilner about comment that isn’t in the audio clip you’ll hear via the above link.

“Seitzer compared [Goins] to Alcides Escobar,” he wrote. “They thought he wouldn’t hit, Seitzer disagreed. He hit .293 in ’12.”

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That’s him on the left.

Well, they had the Tim part right, it seems, but it’s not the much-rumoured Tim Raines who we’ll see patrolling the first base coach’s box at Rogers Centre next year, but former Ottawa Lynx manager Tim Leiper.

Who, you ask? Tim Leiper! He has a Wikipedia entry and everything! And it looks like he’s on Twitter, at @timleiper! But first, Shi Davidi’s report from Sportsnet:

The Toronto Blue Jays will name Tim Leiper their first base coach next week, rounding out the coaching staff under manager John Gibbons, multiple sources told

The 47-year-old gets promoted from within after serving as a senior advisor, player development for the club last season.

Shi adds that the club is still considering whether to add an extra coach for this season.

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According to the internet– or, if you prefer to be more specific, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star– um… what the headline says, i.e. this:

Cue morons rushing en masse to look up how bad the Royals were at hitting under his tutelage in order to dumbly shit all over the move as though that would actually tell us anything.

Or… well… it’s practically impossible to separate a hitting coach’s influence from the actual talent on his roster, and I’d say that we should maybe not indulge in such pointlessness too much, but it’s probably unavoidable.

To start: Seitzer, who was an impressive hitter in his own right, posting a .295/.375/.404 line over his 12-year career, was the Royals’ hitting coach from 2009 through 2012. His name has been strongly linked to the Jays job right from the get-go, as I noted (via Shi Davidi) in a Daily Duce post back on Thursday, because of his relationship with John Gibbons, who was the Royals’ bench coach from 2008 until the end of 2011.

He also, then, was around when Melky Cabrera had his major breakout season, for whatever that’s worth.

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Alex Anthopoulos joined Bob McCown and Damien Cox yesterday evening on Prime Time Sports on the Fan 590 (audio here), to speak about the state of his club, the firing of his hitting coach, and– apparently– to spread the gospel of OPS, pitcher wins, batting average, and All-Star appearances.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a team or players excelling at those things, it’s just… elevate the conversation, Alex. Or, at the very least, if you have a bunch of proprietary analytics that you’re using, go ahead and mention that! Please! We’re starting to worry!

Anywho… obviously the topic du jour was the topic of the day, and on Tuesday that was the changes to the coaching staff, with Dwayne Murphy retiring and Chad Mottola being shown the door– or at least the door to the big league club’s dressing room.

Anthopoulos didn’t shy away from answering questions about it, though he was typically short on specifics:

Once Gibby and I talked about it, we just said, ‘You know what? We viewed them as a tandem, and this is a chance to change it up and go in some other direction.’ And Gibby has some guys that he’s worked with in the past, that he has good and strong relationships with. So, it was as much that. But, you know, I’ve talked to Chad, and I’ve told him that the door’s open to stay in the organization, and we can talk, and for him to take a few days and decide what he wants to do. I expect him to get a lot of phone calls; a lot of job offers. He’s well regarded– there’s not going to be an issue with him finding a job– and whether one of another 29 clubs has a big league opportunity, that remains to be seen. But there’s still a scenario that he’ll be back with us, and we’ll just give him as much time as he needs to work it out.

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Chad Mottola

Well here’s an odd bit of news given everything we’ve ever heard about the Jays’ supposed wizard of a hitting coach: per a team release, neither Dwayne Murphy nor Chad Mottola will be returning to the Major League coaching staff of the Blue Jays in 2014.

Murphy, who moved to first base this year after being the club’s hitting coach since 2010 (having been promoted from the role of roving hitting instructor) is retiring as a coach.

Mottola, the hitting coach, who had worked his way up through the organization, and long been praised for his work with the club’s minor leaguers– having appeared to have been specifically groomed for the role, even joining the big league staff in September of 2012– according to the release, “will not return to the Major League staff in 2014.”

That’s all that’s specified by the release, pertaining to those two, so it’s somewhat unclear if Mottola is being reassigned– perhaps they felt he works better with up-and-comers?– or if this is a straight-up firing. My inkling is that they would have announced a reassignment, or at least made mention of it, were that the case, but that’s all the information we have at the moment.

John Gibbons’ other staffers– bench coach DeMarlo Hale, pitching coach Pete Walker, third base coach Luis Rivera, and bullpen coach Pat Hentgen– will remain in their roles next season.

No replacements for the departing coaches have been named.

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Not Stubby Clapp

The Jays sent out a press release this afternoon announcing their full slate of minor league coaches and development staff for 2013, including some new hires and ones we’d already heard about– even though some of us *COUGH* may have not bothered to post anything about them (sorry, maple boners)– being made official.

It’s… interesting? Mildly?

I don’t know. But here’s what’s worth noting:

Most interestingly, I think, is the fact that Sal Fasano will no longer be managing the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, as he takes becomes the club’s minor league catching coordinator– a position that didn’t exist last year (according to the club’s as-yet-to-be-updated front office directory).

Mike Wilner quashes everybody’s initial thought, saying that he’s been told it’s not a demotion for Fasano, who until today appeared to have been moving up the organization’s managerial ranks. After a successful year with Lansing in 2010, Fasano moved up to New Hampshire, where he stayed the last two seasons, winning the Eastern League’s Manager of the Year award in 2011.

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According to Mel Antonen of assorted baseball writings, Tim Raines is set to join the Blue Jays coaching staff. The former Expos great and poster boy for Hall of Fame arguments involving Jack Morris will be the outfield and base-running coach for the club in 2013. As far as the one 15 second google search I did about the position tells me, the position didn’t exist previously in the organization before this.

Between the gifs, the instagram accounts, R.A. Dickey’s nerditry and now pre-stat-revolution victim-of-circumstance Raines, the Jays 2012 off-season plan clearly included appealing to as many different demographics of fans on the internet as possible.

Got ‘em.

LATE UPDATE: Happy New Year
HANGOVER UPDATE: According to Wilner, Raines is going to be working mostly at the minor league level and will only be helping the Jays big leaguers during Spring Training. STILL THO.